Retired Nov. 30, 1964. Died March 10, 1978.
Marion Charles Smith was born in Kansas City, Kan. in 1909. He graduated from Washington High School in East Chicago, Ind., in 1926. After a year at the University of Kansas he transferred to Purdue University where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1931. At Purdue he was active in the Purdue Band, Symphony Orchestra, debating and dramatics. He was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Social Fraternity and Alpha Zeta, Theta Alpha Phi, and Tau Kappa Alpha Honorary Fraternities.
He was commissioned a first lieutenant in April 1942 and assigned to the 36th Air Depot Group at Warner Robins Air Force Base in Macon, Ga. In August 1942, he proceeded with the group to England and from there to North Africa in December 1942, where he held various assignments in the group which supported the combat aircraft in the North Africa Theatre. During this period he won promotions to captain and major.
In April 1943, Major Smith was assigned as assistant chief of staff, personnel to a special task group which was formed to take part in the invasion of the Mediterranean Island of Pantelleria and command the allied garrison. When the group was inactivated in September 1943, Major Smith was then assigned as the wing adjutant and assistant chief of staff, personnel in the 42nd Bomb Wing in North Africa. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel and appointed as the wing executive officer and served with the bomb wing in North Africa, Sardinia, Corsica and France until the end of World War II.
In August 1946, he returned from overseas duty and was assigned to the War Department General Staff in the Plans and Operations Division. In this assignment, he was in charge of War Department activities in the establishment and operation of our Latin and South America Army and Air Force missions. Upon the establishment of the Department of the Air Force, he was transferred to the Headquarters Air Force Operations Division with responsibility for the Air Force missions through out Latin and South America.
Lieutenant Colonel Smith was assigned as a student to the Air War College in 1948 and graduated in 1949. He returned to the Pentagon where he became the deputy chief of the Operationa1 Plans Branch. In late 1949, he became the executive officer of the Operations Division. In the spring of 1950 he was assigned as executive officer to the Air Force vice chief of staff and was promoted in July 1950 to colonel.
In January 1951, he proceeded to Europe as the executive officer to the commander in chief, U.S. Air Force, Europe. In the spring of 1951, he moved to Fontainebleau, France, as the executive officer to the commander in chief, Allied Air Forces Central Europe, a NATO command, just then being established. In July 1952, he moved to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe as the executive to the air deputy to the supreme allied commander, Europe, General Gruenther.
In July 1955, Colonel Smith returned to the United States as a student in the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. After graduation in 1956, he was assigned to Air Materiel Command as chief of the Programs and Analysis Office in the Directorate of Procurement and Product ion. After three years in various procurement and production assignments at Headquarters Air Materiel Command, he was assigned to the Pentagon as deputy director for procurement and production, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and in 1960 became the director of procurement and production. In this assignment he was promoted to brigadier general in May 1961.
Upon reorganization of the Air Staff in July 1961, he was appointed director of systems services, Office, Deputy Chief of Staff for Systems and Logistics, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
General Smith's advance education includes the Advance Management Program at Harvard University, Graduate School of Business in 1958.